In a bid to show commitment and dedication to help in uplifting the communication infrastructure across the country, telecommunications giant Mascom has handed over 10 new Kitsong centres to young entrepreneurs to operate as their own businesses, making a total of 81 kitsong centres.
Mascom partnered with Botswana Government through the Nteletsa II Rural Telecommunications Development Project, and extended coverage to a total of 41 villages and also set up Kitsong Centres in each of the 41 villages.
After the success of this project, Mascom continued to build on to this investment by establishing 10 Kitsong Centres in 2011. To date, Mascom has invested over 12 million Pula in Information Communication Technology (ICT) projects aimed at encouraging the youth of Botswana to be involved in entrepreneurship.
On Thursday, Mascom awarded 10 new villages (Motlokwe, Sojwe, Xhumo, Bokaa, Mosetse, Manyana, Mabutsane, Marapong, Kuke, Chadibe, Mamashoro and Takatokwane) with Kitsong Centres in an effort to bridge the rural digital divide. The young entrepreneurs were challenged by previous beneficiaries to take the training opportunity as well as the experience acquired to look positively into the future. One of the beneficiaries added that they should not give up in their dreams of becoming entrepreneurs.
Mascom contributes to the use of ICT in rural communities by making donations of ICT equipment to Primary Schools and Kgotlas. Minister responsible for communications, Tshenolo Mabeo, hailed the efforts by Mascom, saying it is indeed a commendable gesture that Mascom deserves to be applauded for.
He urged other private companies to support this initiative and partner with Mascom to channel their services through these Centres. In 2012, Mascom selected 10 villages from a total of 21 villages considered for the opportunity. The Mascom Kitsong centre package typically comprises of a branded Porta – cabin equipped with computer terminals, printers, copiers and Data cards. Mascom provides start-up computer consumables and stationary.
The fully equipped centre is then handed to a carefully selected youth to operate for their own profit. It is a prerequisite that these youth are unemployed and reside in the selected villages. The standard Mascom Kitsong Centre services include airtime and simcard sales, email and internet services, photocopying, printing, typesetting, fax services, and computer training. In addition to these services, some innovative Mascom Kitsong Centre operators have developed other revenue streams including, photography, stationery sales, graphics and video productions, as well as computer games.
Further to this, Mascom provides operational support to the centres for both ICT equipment maintenance and Sales support. They have also trained and setup up 10 other Mascom Kitsong Centre Operators as MyZaka Agents who will now be able to register clients who wish to use the Mascom mobile service.